English pharmacies will be able to opt out of summary care record (SCR) access, C+D has learned.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) told C+D pharmacists will not be contractually obliged to take part in the England-wide rollout of read-only access later this month.
The organisation said it is not aware of any pharmacists who have expressed an interest in opting out.
But Mike Hewitson, who has discussed SCR rollout with HSCIC as chair of the Pharmacy Voice professional practice group, told C+D that pharmacists might opt out because of concerns about how records access could affect their liability for patient harm.
“It may present a difficulty if – for example – the patient says they have a drug allergy, but can’t remember what. If the pharmacist has access, but doesn’t [check the record] then this would potentially be negligent,” Mr Hewitson said.
Benefits and risks
Pharmacists need to consider the benefits as well as the risks of accessing the record, he stressed. “SCR access underpins the next generation of pharmacy services, and helps pharmacists claim their rightful place in the wider healthcare team,” Mr Hewitson said.
C+D revealed last week that pharmacists will not be reimbursed for the upfront costs of implementing SCR access until they go live with the service.
Kent contractor Amish Patel said he will “need to see how out of pocket" he would be before deciding whether to take part in the rollout. If access costs “a lot”, then he will wait until the right time to make the move, “such as when a service is linked to the SCR”, he said.
Otherwise pharmacists could “open ourselves to legal issues with no clear future” for how the record will be used, Mr Patel added.
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